Hzero, the train museum in Florence
In the heart of the city the museum dedicated to the model railway of Giuseppe di San Giuliano
An extraordinary new museum project dedicated to the imagery of the train opens in Florence on Sunday, May 29, 2022. Conceived as an immersive narrative device that comes to life in the spaces of the former Ariston cinema, a stone's throw from Santa Maria Novella, HZERO is developed around a unique work of art - an imposing model railway of 280 square meters, among the largest in Europe.
The project is the brainchild of Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano, who has dedicated himself to it with passion and dedication since the seventies and now finds a museum form for sharing with the public thanks to the commitment of his children Diego, Giulia and Maria.
Hzero owes its name to the scale 1/87, typical of model railways, a sort of golden section that establishes the optimal size to ensure detail and overview. The construction of the model was started in 1972, in the family's Florentine home in San Giuliano, starting with a Märklin train. Soon, the growing aspirations of its creator gave life to a larger and larger project, which led in 1985 to the relocation of the work in the barn of the family farmhouse in Val d'Arno; since 2000, the work is then relocated in a hangar of 400 square meters in Scandicci, on the outskirts of Florence. In these years, the model counts on the involvement of new energies, identified in the contribution of friends and acquaintances, including Carlo Brandolini d'Adda and the model maker Marco Baldi, who give it a decisive development.
Curator of the new museum is Alberto Salvadori, who - in collaboration with the Milanese studio Karmachina and the musicians of Tempo Reale - has created an immersive and sensory environment that interacts perfectly with the model.
Location and architecture contribute to the realization of a project that sees the train as the protagonist, symbol of modernity and fulcrum of endless artistic and cinematographic narrations, from Impressionism to the Lumière Brothers up to Futurism and beyond. Maintaining the deep connection that the world of modeling has with the game, invention and know-how, HZERO develops as a space open to all types of public, which will also take place educational activities and recreational experiences and training.
Even before its opening, HZERO has started a valuable dialogue and an effective alliance with Fondazione FS through its General Manager Luigi Cantamessa.